Davelynn watched from the swings; her feet barely touching the ground as she straddled the wooden board. No one was moving towards the monkey bars again. For four days, Georgie Walker had sat on top of the bars and dared, “I’m king of the mountain. You try and come up here, and you’ll be sorry.”
None of the kids dared. He was the biggest, oldest, kid in school; he was like a grown-up sitting on the monkey bars. How many times Georgie had failed school was questionable, but he was in sixth grade -again – this year. No one that Davelynn knew talked to Georgie unless they had to do so, even the teachers didn’t push Georgie to do anything he didn’t want to do. He was just there. Davelynn caught her pants on a sliver of wood as she turned on the seat, but it didn’t slow her down. She kicked her feet out, and the swing began its back and forth journey. The more she thought, the harder she kicked. Had Georgie really banged Jimmy Smith’s head against the asphalt until one of the squares in the four square block was red? Being in kindergarten last year, she had only heard rumors about that day, but when she looked at Jimmy, she didn’t doubt it because he still walked like duck whose one leg didn’t work right.
Davelynn began to pump her legs harder and faster. Why didn’t anyone stop Georgie? Just then he laughed and called out another taunt. She looked at the ground fading and then looming closer before she sighed. She knew why no one challenged him, and she doubled up on her pumps. Her big brother Tommy was standing with a group of the other boys hollering at Georgie. “Come on, Georgie, we want to play on the monkey bars, too.”
Davelynn pulled her legs tight under her, and the swing went so high the chains buckled as it swung backwards in the arc. ‘He is stronger within me.’ Davelynn stuck her feet out and coasted. Where had she heard those words before? She looked at the other swings. Everyone else was just kicking their legs, or twisting in their swings or talking and keeping an eye on the monkey bars. ‘He’s stronger than Georgie’. Who? Davelynn started kicking and biting her bottom lip. When had she heard that before?
“Hey, Georgie, I’ve got a steely marble you can have,” hollered Rich, one of her other brothers. “Come on; let us climb, too.”
Davelynn jumped off her swing at the very top of the arc and marched over to the monkey bars. She looked at all the kids standing around, whispering and muttering about Georgie, but doing nothing. What was wrong with them? Didn’t they know that Georgie didn’t own the monkey bars? Someone else did. Mom and Dad, her teachers, even her brothers – sometimes – had taught her to share. She reached out her small hand and wrapped her tiny fingers around the lowest bar.
“Davelynn, get back from there!” Tommy and Rich grabbed her arm to pull her away.
“No.” Davelynn yanked her arm back and smiled up at Georgie. “Hey, Georgie, I’m coming up.”
Bullies exist in our world. They control our actions and, at times, our thoughts. We focus on them; we watch their actions; and we think we don’t have to get involved…or do we?
Sometimes we say we are just picking our battles; that this battle isn’t as important as others. ‘The woman, lying in the corner of a restaurant having a convulsion after being beaten by two other women, is:
- beyond our help –
- we don’t have the skills to deal with that –
- those people who beat her might come back –
- somebody else will help her –
- I’ve got the kids with me –
- I’ll be late for the next thing on the on-going list – “
Hard choices are always in front of us. Eve saw the serpent. David saw Goliath. Mary was pregnant and unwed. Jesus saw the cross. Davelynn saw Georgie. I have seen too many “Georgies” to count. Most of the time, I failed to act at all. Yet, sometimes, I managed to hear those words in my head: “Greater is He that is in me, than He who is in the world.” Those were the times I didn’t fail. I managed to stand up and do what was right. But that’s what is required of us: to see it and choose. Action – non-action. Compassion – indifference.
– Steadfastness –